Tag:Torii Hunter
Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:38 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 5:38 pm

Angels' Hunter: 'I want a ring'

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jim Thome went to the Phillies to try to win a World Series. Raul Ibanez went to the Yankees to try to win a World Series.

Torii Hunter understands.

Hunter's five-year deal with the Angels is up at the end of this year, and he repeated Tuesday that his top priority is to get a deal done that would keep him in Anaheim. But if he needs to move . . .

"Right now, I'm focused on winning," Hunter said. "Money? I've made money. I want a ring.

"Money has nothing to do with any decision I would make. I want a ring."

Hunter made $90 million on his current deal with the Angels. He has been to the postseason six times with the Twins and Angels, but has yet to play in a World Series.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 8:09 pm

Justin Upton, All-Star host (but not recruiter)

PHOENIX -- Maybe it's just as well that Justin Upton didn't use the All-Star Game to recruit free agents to sign with the Diamondbacks.

It didn't exactly work for Torii Hunter.

Last year in Anaheim, the Angels put Carl Crawford's locker right next to Hunter's, and Hunter spent two days extolling the virtues of playing in Southern California to Crawford and the other All-Stars.

Crawford, of course, signed with the Red Sox.

Upton is the All-Star host this year, playing the role Hunter played last year -- minus the free-agent recruiting.

"No, I can't think that far ahead," he said with a smile before Tuesday's game.

Asked if he had told any All-Star teammates how great it is to play in Arizona, Upton said he didn't need to.

"They're seeing it," he said.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 7:48 pm

Angels 'painfully' bad -- but not out of it

NEW YORK -- Mike Scioscia always says he doesn't look at the standings.

That's too bad, because right now the standings are the best thing the Angels have going for them.

They're not hitting. They're not scoring. They're not winning.

But they're also not falling out of the American League West race.

Over the last 11 days, heading into Friday night's series opener against the Mets, the Angels went 3-6 -- and gained 1 1/2 games on first-place Texas.

"How about that?" Torii Hunter said. "We've struggled so much, and we're still three [games] back. We're still in it.

"That's giving us faith, giving us that edge again. We're kind of shocked that we're only three games back, but now we can smell blood."

Hunter is hitting just .225. Vernon Wells is hitting .193. And they were batting third and fourth in the order Friday night.

The Angels have been shut out nine times, the most in the American League. They've been shut out only once in the last 14 games, but they've been held to three runs or less in 11 of those 14 games.

"I don't know if we've ever gone through a stretch like this," Scioscia said. "The last three weeks were really painful for us. We need to create more offense."

Scioscia mentioned Kendrys Morales, whose inability to come back from an ankle injury left a big hole in the Angels' batting order. Pitcher Jered Weaver said the team was "deflated" after finding out that Morales would need a second surgery and wouldn't return this season.

But all the Angels need is a look at the standings to re-inflate.

"It's amazing we are still in it," Weaver admitted. "We could have been 10 games out by now."

But they're not.

"We still know we're a playoff contender," Weaver said.

Some people have wondered whether the Angels could turn into sellers, and Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com speculated last week that they might even consider trading Weaver, a Cy Young contender with an 8-4 record and 2.06 ERA who will be a free agent at the end of next season.

Angels people suggest that's highly unlikely, and it's hard to imagine the ultra-competitive Scioscia and owner Arte Moreno giving up on a season that easily.

But there's no reason for them to give up on this season, not with the Rangers failing to take a stronger grip on first place.

If the Angels need encouragement, they need only look at the standings -- whether Scioscia wants to or not.
Posted on: April 22, 2011 2:11 pm

Center field now belongs to the young

Have you noticed how young center fielders are these days?

Gary Cohen did.

Cohen, the outstanding television voice of the Mets, asked me the other day who's the oldest regular center fielder in the game, now that Carlos Beltran and Torii Hunter have become right fielders.

So I looked it up.

And the answer is? It depends on who you consider a regular, but in any case, there's no one older than 33.

The oldest is either Marlon Byrd of the Cubs, who is 33 (and will turn 34 on Aug. 30), or Aaron Rowand of the Giants, who will turn 34 one day earlier.

Rowand has played the most games in center field for the Giants so far, but Andres Torres is the regular when he's healthy. That's OK, because Torres is also 33 (but a few months younger than Byrd or Rowand).

No other regular center fielder in the game is 33. Or even 32.

In fact, 21 of the 30 teams feature a center fielder who hasn't turned 30, and 10 have a center fielder who is 25 or younger. And one or two of the teams with a 30-plus center fielder are already looking for someone better.

You might say that it figures, because center fielders need speed. But over the last 10 years, 35 center fielders who were past their 34th birthday played at least 100 games in center field in the big leagues.

Steve Finley played every game in 2004, at age 39, and played 139 games two years later, at age 41.

It can be done, but not this year.

Now center field belongs to the young.
Posted on: July 22, 2010 10:43 am

3 to watch: The Showdown in the West edition

The last time the Angels were this far out of first place on July 22, they were playing in Texas against the first-place Rangers.

It was 2004, and the Angels pounded the Rangers 11-1 that night . . . and went on to win the American League West.

It fits the stereotype, doesn't it? The Angels are AL West royalty, and can always come back. The Rangers can always fade in the late-summer Texas heat.

You wonder if it will happen again, and you wonder if the turnaround will begin one of the next two weekends, when the top two teams in the West will meet for seven seemingly crucial games.

But you also wonder if what we're seeing is less the makings of a turnaround than of a turnover, a takeover of the division by a young Rangers team that's finally ready to win.

There's a sense that this year is different, and that the Rangers' current five-game lead feels bigger than the six-game lead the Rangers woke up with six years ago today.

The Angels remain dangerous, but without Kendry Morales, they seem to lack the needed punch (despite 16 runs the last two days in New York). And while the Angels say they'll try to trade for help in the next week, the general sense around the club is that this isn't 2008, they're not one Mark Teixeira trade away from being a threat to win it all, and the farm system isn't going to be deep enough to allow a significant addition.

And the Rangers?

The Angels are convinced they're good. Torii Hunter called them "one of the top three teams in baseball right now," and another Angels player said the Ranger lineup is better than the Yankee lineup.

"They've been playing great baseball for the last month and a half," Hunter said. "They really play well in their own park. They hit for power. They just hit."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia insists that the standings don't matter in July, that individual series aren't crucial and that the only key is that the Angels "play our game."

But the Angels have "played their game" in the month and a half since Morales was lost for the season in that home-plate celebration. They were 24-27 when he got hurt, and they're 27-19 since.

The reason that the Rangers are five games up in the standings is that they've gone 29-14 over the same span.

"Five games is not a great lead," Hunter said. "If we were up five, Texas would be good enough to catch up. We have a good enough team to catch them."

If so, this weekend would be a good time to prove it.

On to 3 to watch:

1. Remember back this spring, when the Angels said they didn't really need a true ace? Well, it sure would help if Jered Weaver acts like one now, beginning with his series-opening matchup with Cliff Lee, in Angels at Rangers, Thursday night (8:05 EDT) at Rangers Ballpark . Weaver pitched seven shutout innings when the Angels beat the Rangers 2-1 on July 1 in Anaheim, but he gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in a May start in Texas. As for Lee, so far he's given the Rangers 18 innings in two starts -- and no wins. Despite missing the first month of the season, he's second to Roy Halladay in complete games (with six), and rival executives are already speculating that the Rangers will push him every bit as much as the Brewers pushed pennant-race rental CC Sabathia in 2008.

2. Like the Angels, the Red Sox seem to be at a crucial point in the schedule, as they're now seven games behind the Yankees in the American League East, and 4 1/2 games behind the wild-card leading Rays. Unlike the Angels, who lost Morales for the season, the Sox are getting key players back from injury. This week has already seen the return of Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie and Jeremy Hermida, and next week could see Victor Martinez rejoining the lineup. And, perhaps most crucially, Boston is getting Josh Beckett back, with his first start since May 18 scheduled for Red Sox at Mariners, Friday night (10:10 EDT) at Safeco Field . How has Boston done in Beckett's absence? A lot better than you would have thought. The Red Sox are 33-22 since he last pitched, which means they lost only 1 1/2 games to the Yankees, who are 34-20 over the same span. They gained ground on the Rays, who are 29-26.

3. Normally, there's no way I'm including a Royals-Yankees game in 3 to watch. But here goes, because there are two things that make Royals at Yankees, Saturday afternoon (1:05 EDT) at Yankee Stadium potentially interesting. It's Sergio Mitre's first start since replacing Andy Pettitte in the rotation, which means that if he fails, there's sure to be an outcry in New York for general manager Brian Cashman to trade for a starting pitcher (not that Cashman worries about outcries). It is worth remembering, as Cashman has tried to remind people, that Mitre pitched well enough this spring that some people in the organization preferred him over Phil Hughes as the fifth starter. But it's the other starting pitcher that really could make this interesting, because the Royals' Kyle Davies is the same guy who gave up Alex Rodriguez's 500th home run three years ago. A-Rod, who has been at 598 since Sunday, hit both 499 and 500 against the Royals, although those two home runs were two weeks apart.
Posted on: July 13, 2010 6:32 pm

Carl Crawford's All-Star (and recruiting) trip

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- In the American League All-Star clubhouse, Vladimir Guerrero has his old Angel Stadium locker.

That's not a mistake.

Carl Crawford has the locker next to Torii Hunter.

That can't be a mistake either, can it?

"I had nothing to do with that," Hunter said.

No, but you can count on Hunter using the opportunity to remind Crawford, one of baseball's best free agents-to-be, of how great it is to play for the Angels.

As Hunter said Monday, "This is an A-1 organization. I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to play for the Angels."

Crawford has heard the pitch from Hunter before. He's heard it from his friends on other teams, too.

It's like being recruited by colleges out of high school, he said.

"People joke around about it," Crawford said. "I kind of change the topic, and laugh about something else."

Crawford said he still holds out hope of re-signing with the Rays, as unlikely as that may be.

Just in case, though, what does he think of Anaheim?

"I knew how good Anaheim was even before Torii came here," he said. "I've been in the league. I knew it was nice. He just kind of reminds me about it."
Posted on: March 9, 2010 7:04 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:06 pm

Goodbye Cactus, Hello Grapefruit

ORLANDO -- I've traded Aroldis Chapman for Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay, Angel Guzman for Joe Nathan, Los Sombreros in Scottsdale for Frenchy's in Clearwater, cactus for grapefruit.

After three weeks checking out the 15 teams in Arizona, I've checked out of Phoenix and touched down in Florida (and colleague Scott Miller has left Florida for the desert).

A few sights, thoughts and observations from half of spring training with half the teams:

-- Best story: It doesn't get much better than Chapman, whose name comes up in almost every Cactus League ballpark, whether the Reds are there or not. The other day in Mesa, scouts were debating whether he'd have signed for the same money if he was Dominican rather than Cuban. The consensus: Yes, he would have, because you just don't find left-handed starters who throw 100 mph.

-- Best team: The White Sox, whose road to an American League Central title got a little easier with today's news about Twins closer Joe Nathan. Other impressive teams: The Rockies, the Mariners and the Angels.

-- Worst team: The Indians, even though prospects Carlos Santana ("another Victor Martinez") and Lonnie Chisenhall are getting great reviews.

-- Player who looks the most different: With apologies to Andruw Jones and Geovany Soto, it has to be Matt Stairs, barely recognizable after losing 37 pounds. "When you get to Clearwater, tell [Shane] Victorino that I'm smaller than him," Stairs requested. And we will. Oh, and give credit to Jones and Soto, who both seem to have taken conditioning seriously over the winter.

-- Team that has the most fun: Apologies to the Rockies and the Brewers, but it's got to be the Mariners. Just the sight of Felix Hernandez serving as bat boy in the M's intrasquad game (with "BB" taped over the number on his back) was all the proof I needed.

-- Strangest sight: Walking through the abandoned White Sox clubhouse building in Tucson for the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton press conference. The Sox moved to Glendale last year, but the doors to the empty clubhouse still have Sox logos on them. Next year, all of Tucson will be a baseball ghost town, but for now, it's just half of Tucson Electric Park.

-- Best quote: A tie between Torii Hunter and Ozzie Guillen. Torii on losing to the Yankees in the playoffs: "I couldn't stand up. All I want now is the ring. Not a gold glove. Not the Hall of Fame. My satisfaction would be winning the World Series. If I get that, I'm passing out on the field." Ozzie on whether Lou Piniella will manage past 2010: "They keep paying you, why go see your family every day? We need people like Lou in this game. Lou is what . . . just 65? I thought he was 78."
Posted on: October 15, 2009 3:12 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2009 4:05 pm

Teixeira, Hunter meet again -- in ALCS

NEW YORK -- Torii Hunter tried to convince Mark Teixeira to stay with the Angels. It didn't work.

But when Teixeira left to join the Yankees as a free agent, he told Hunter that they'd meet again -- in the American League Championship Series.

Teixeira says the conversation took place in December, when he called to tell Hunter that he'd be signing with New York. Hunter remembers it taking place early this season, when the Angels were at Yankee Stadium.

"I was at first base, and he told me, 'We'll see you in the ALCS,' " Hunter said. "It's true."


Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the Angels are "happy they're playing us" and also said that in a way, the Angels "look down on us" because of their success against the Yankees over recent years.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins doesn't buy it.

"There's so much respect," Reagins said. "We knew we'd have to beat the best to be where we want to be. They're a real good ballclub. There's a lot of respect. We're not looking down at them in any way."

Hunter was also surprised to hear Cashman's comments.

"He said that?" Hunter asked. 'I'm just happy to be here. We were happy to play the Red Sox [in the first round], too. We're happy to play anybody."

And no surprise, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia said it's never easy playing the Yankees.

"I don't think there's been any dominance," Scioscia said. "They have the respect of everyone in our clubhouse."


While the Angels are 2 for 2 in playoff series against the Yankees, Hunter is 0 for 2, with his Twins losing in the first round in both 2003 and 2004. Hunter hit .387 in the two series.

"Everywhere I go, we play the Yankees," he said. "Now I feel we've really got that chance. I really think we have a shot to get it done."

Hunter described the Yankees as having "a $10 billion payroll," whereas he said of the Twins, "We had no chance. We made minimum wage."


A couple of pre-ALCS numbers to note:

-- The Angels (48-33) and the Yankees (46-35) were the only two American League teams with winning records on the road this year.

-- While the Angels and Yankees split the 10 games in their regular-season series, the Angels outscored the Yankees 65-55 in the 10 games.

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